Looking for the best monitors for MacBook Pro? We're not surprised. If you've invested in one of the best MacBooks (opens in new tab), you won't want to be held back by the size of the screen. While a MacBook's Pro compact size makes it perfect for portability, when you're back at your desk editing photos and videos, you'll want to open multiple windows, with enough space to see everything in detail. And so a second monitor starts to make a lot of sense.
Even the 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 Pro or M2 Max (opens in new tab) could feel restrictive when you've got multiple editing pallets open, resulting in a small image or video preview pane. And multitasking two or more windows alongside each other could feel equally confining. The problem is only made worse with smaller 13-inch MacBooks, which while great for portability, can soon become restrictive over long periods of use.
• Best photo editing monitors (opens in new tab)
• Best video editing monitors
• Best USB-C monitors (opens in new tab)
• Best ultra-wide monitors (opens in new tab)
• Best curved monitors (opens in new tab)
• Best portable monitors (opens in new tab)
• Best Dell monitors
• Best Samsung monitors
A second, standalone monitor can instantly expand your viewing horizons. However, you need to make sure you have the right connectors. Most monitors still use conventional video connections: HDMI or DisplayPort. However, Apple only outfits its latest MacBook Pro models with Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. Consequently, if you want to connect a monitor directly to your MacBook, it'll need to be a USB-C-compatible screen.
The good news is, all the monitor options in this guide are USB-C monitors, so are ready to plug and play. If you do choose a non-USB-C monitor elsewhere, though, you'll need to buy a DisplayPort to USB-C adapter dongle separately.
Also, consider what you want from a second screen. Size is of course important, as there's no point adding a second monitor if it's too small for the work you're doing. We reckon 27-inch screens offer a great balance between screen real estate while not being too physically unwieldy.
You'll also wish to ensure consistent color and contrast across both screens. Then it's a case of the more you spend, the higher the color accuracy of the panel, and the better the coverage of color spaces like sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and Rec. 709 - important for a serious image or video editing.
Best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2023
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The U2723QE itself is a 27-inch display with headline specs like 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage, 4K resolution, USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery, and even IPS Black technology to boost contrast and give deeper black depth. In our testing we found Dell's headline specs translate to excellent image quality results across the board. If you need extensive DCI-P3 color space coverage and USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery, this display is certainly worth the money and is definitely worthy of serious consideration if you're in the market for a high-performing display for image or video editing.
Read more: Dell UltraSharp U2723QE full review (opens in new tab) for more details
If you want the best monitor for MacBook Pro, you want to go to the source, right? And so it is that the Apple Studio Display, launched earlier this year, is an excellent second monitor for these purposes. Just be warned: it's very expensive.
Should you be able to afford it, though, you'll be rewarded with a very lovely 27-inch 5K display, with true and consistent colors, up to 600 nits of brightness, and an extremely wide viewing angle. The nano-textured glass option on the screen delivers an incredible amount of glare reduction. And connectivity is excellent too, with three USB-C ports and one Thunderbolt port.
Read our full Apple Studio Display review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
This 27-inch 4K monitor is great if you're serious about matching the color accuracy of your MacBook's screen. It boasts superb color space coverage, with the wide-gamut 16-bit display delivering 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB/Rec.709, and 90% DCI-P3/Display P3 coverage.
Hardware color calibration ensures a high color accuracy of Delta E ≤ 2 for Adobe RGB and sRGB content, and the monitor boasts Pantone and CalMAN validation, with support for standalone monitor calibrators. The SW271C also benefits from BenQ's third-generation color Uniformity Technology, which fine-tunes the color and brightness of sub-regions across the screen for a more consistent viewing experience. The monitor's USB-C connection means you can hook it up to a modern MacBook Pro with a single cable, and the SW271C can supply up to 60W Power Delivery to a MacBook - enough to power it through most scenarios.
Read our full BenQ SW271C Review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
The BenQ PD3420Q is our top monitor pick for the MacBook Pro if you want an ultrawide viewing perspective. It boasts a quality 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, spread over a 34-inch 21:9 ultrawide screen, giving you a huge desktop to work on. And its 2,500:1 contrast means your images will look bright and vibrant.
The PD3420Q also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), backed up by VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, enabling enhanced clarity in extreme highlight and shadow areas. Crucially, this monitor also has 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.709 and an impressive 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage, making it a great choice for photographers, videographers and designers alike.
Read our full BenQ PD3420Q review (opens in new tab)
Dell produces several excellent monitors which would work great alongside a MacBook Pro, but the U3219Q offers the the one to get if you want top color accuracy and a huge workspace to boot.
This 31.5-inch panel can display 99% of the sRGB color space, while factory color calibration ensures a Delta-E accuracy of less than 2. The giant Dell is also capable of displaying HDR content, as it just meets the 400cd/m2 brightness needed for HDR output. Add an excellent, highly adjustable stand, a USB 3 hub, and USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery and you've got a thoroughly capable and hassle-free monitor to complement even the best MacBook. (opens in new tab)
Want a monitor for your MacBook Pro that'll work on the go as well as at home? Consider a portable monitor. These clever screens are a similar size to your MacBook's screen and are super-slim and light so can be carried alongside your MacBook. And the best bit? Their single-cable USB-C connection can also power the screen from your MacBook's battery, so you can indulge in dual-screen computing with no AC outlet required!
This is Dell's only portable monitor - but it is one of the best we have tested. The C1422H is a 14-inch, 16:9 widescreen display that sports a generous Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. That's high enough to produce a 158ppi pixel density on a screen this small - almost as crisp a 27-inch monitor running at 4K. The C1422H is based around an IPS LCD panel, which is ideal for discerning image or video editors: IPS LCD tech provides much more consistent color and contrast, regardless of viewing angle, than TN or even VA-based LCD units. It weighs only 590g and is also super-slim at just 1.43cm at its thickest. This is a monitor that can comfortably slot in a bag alongside your MacBook Pro, and Dell provides a nice soft sleeve for transportation.
Read our full Dell C1422H review (opens in new tab)
See also: Best portable monitors(opens in new tab)
Want to do justice to your MacBook Pro's color-accurate display? The SW270C is a great choice, as it has incredibly accurate colors. It covers an impressive 99 percent of the AdobeRGB color gamut as well as 100 percent of the sRGB color space and 97 percent of the DCI-P3 video color space, and the monitor will even remind you when it's due to be calibrated.
Its USB-C connection enables a single-cable connection to your MacBook with no dongles necessary, plus it can supply up to 60W Power Delivery to power your MacBook. The monitor also boasts two USB Type-A ports and an SD card reader - very useful for modern MacBook Pros that lack these ports. The only downside with the SW270C is its 2560 x 1440 screen res, which is well short of 4K and could look a little pixelated next to your MacBook's Retina display.
Read our full BenQ SW270C review for more details(opens in new tab)
Aimed at creative professionals, the Asus ProArt PA32UCG is a brilliant 4K USB-C monitor which boasts HDR imaging capabilities and nearly every feature a creative could want for an image or video editing.
The Thunderbolt 3/USB-C connection means this monitor can be connected to your MacBook Pro with just a single cable, and with up to 60W of Power Delivery, that same wire can also power your MacBook - neat stuff. You also get 100% sRGB color space coverage, 99.5% Adobe RGB, and 95% DCI-P3; plus pro-grade calibration features and a hardware calibration tool in the box.
There's no getting away from the fact that it is expensive, but if you're serious about image quality and want to match or even exceed the quality of your MacBook's Retina display, this is the monitor to go for.(opens in new tab)
Fancy an extra-large ultrawide monitor for your MacBook Pro, and one that also wraps around you for a more immersive viewing experience? A curved monitor is an answer, and we reckon the LG 34WP85C represents superb value for money. For starters, it's an IPS display, so color and contrast accuracy should be more reliable than a cheaper curved monitor using VA LCD screen technology.
Not only is this critical for accurate image editing, it's also the display technology used in a MacBook Pro's Retina display, so this monitor's image quality will look that part alongside your MacBook. You also get a decent 95% DCI-P3 color space coverage, plus there's HDR10 certification for viewing high dynamic range content. The 3440 x 1440 aspect ratio is to be expected for this screen size and matches equivalently-sized curved monitors at higher price points. All things considered, this LG panel is a bit of a bargain.
See also: Best ultrawide monitors (opens in new tab)
How we test monitors
We evaluate a monitor (opens in new tab) with particular attention given to its core image quality, including brightness, contrast, color vibrancy, and accuracy. While this can - and will - be assessed by the experienced eye of our professional reviewer, some manufacturer screen specs can only be definitively judged by an 'electronic eye' - a monitor calibrator. Where possible, a calibration device will be placed on the screen to verify its advertised color space coverage, brightness output and consistency, and factory color calibration accuracy. Beyond image quality, we'll also scrutinize the monitor's display and data ports to ensure acceptable connectivity, and will give a thorough assessment of build quality, including the range of ergonomic adjustments in its stand. Only then will we determine if a screen is worthy of use by a discerning imaging or video enthusiast.
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